Sunday, December 25, 2011

Number Twenty-Six

Verstecke sind unzählige, Rettung nur eine, aber Möglichkeiten der Rettung wieder so viele wie Verstecke. Es gibt ein Ziel, aber keinen Weg; was wir Weg nennen, ist Zögern.

Hiding places there are innumerable, escape is only one, but possibilities of escape, again, are as many as hiding places. There is a goal, but no way; what we call a way is hesitation.

There are innumerable hiding places and only one salvation, but the possibilities of salvation are as numerous as the hiding places. There is a destination but no way there; what we refer to as way is hesitation. [Hofmann]


This is another cancelled aphorism, very reminiscent of "Before the Law."

Briefly, it says that hiding places and possible avenues of escape or rescue are numberless, but only one of them is true. In parallel, there is somewhere to go, but no way to get there at all. In other words, there are countless wrong pathways and only one right one, from one point of view, whereas from another point of view there is not even one right pathway, because the mistake lies in thinking in terms of pathways. There is an aim that is not achieved yet, and which is simply to be achieved. To come up with a way to achieve it is to postpone that achievement.

If we begin with the supposition that all of us are elements of a single transcendent consciousness mistaking itself for an infinite number of discrete beings, then the student approaching the guru and asking to be liberated is actually one consciousness asking itself for freedom. The guru looks at the student and says in effect, "you're not fooling me, Visnu, I know it's you, but if you want to play this game, act the part of a hapless student, and invent laborious and elaborate procedures for your own liberation instead of simply liberating yourself right now, by all means, why not?"

This aphorism does not seem to be consistent with the idea of the true way, since he says there is no way to the one aim. However, there need not be a contradiction, and clearing up contradictions isn't necessarily tidying up where untidiness is called for. The true way isn't about going somewhere, it's about staying on the rope or brushing the leaves away continually, keeping pointed in the right direction, not about how much distance you've managed to cover. You cover no more ground than you are currently standing on, which is what he said in the twenty-fourth aphorism.

You can't spread out becoming, you can only train or practice or wait until it happens. The moment of becoming something truly new may or may not arise out of the old, but it isn't just the rearrangement of the old. The new may happen because you've arranged enough old stuff out of its birth canal, so there is something to be done with the old stuff, but the new, to be new, must be discontinuous with what went before. The paradox of the "way" is that you're trying to invite the new because there does seem to be some way to induce it to come from among all the old stuff, but what comes will come out of nothing old.

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